Is there anything that could keep you from ever learning the FEAR OF THE LORD? Anything, that would make it impossible to learn, no matter how hard you try?
If Learning the Fear of the LORD was filling water in a bucket. What is the hole in the bottom of the bucket that would keep it from ever getting filled?
I Timothy 6:10 - For the love of money is the root of all evil: and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
The Bible tells us the number one hindrance that will prevent you from ever Learning the Fear of the LORD:
If you love money, you will never Learn the Fear of the LORD. You cannot. The Fear of the LORD is to depart from evil… but the love of money is the root of all evil.
That means every evil thing on this earth – if you go back to it’s root – it comes from the love of money. That also means - if you love money – there is no evil that you could not eventually participate in.
Because the root of all evil – is in you: the love of money... It will have you sooner or later do things that you would never have imagined you would do.
You could try to Fear the LORD. You could consciously turn away from evil, day after day. But just like cutting grass, by the next morning evil will have sprung up again; because the root of all evil is still in your heart.
The love of money, unless uprooted, will always produce the fruit of evil in your life.
If you love money, The root of selfishness, and self-centered-ness is in your heart If you love money, The root of lying and deception is in your heart If you love money, The root of perverseness, a reluctance to obey, a “think about it first,” but never do it… that God despises… Is in your heart. If you love money, The root of gossip and slander is in your heart If you love money, The root of discontentment and greed is in your heart, If you love money, The root of cheating and stealing is in your heart If you love money, The root of unfaithfulness and adultery is in your heart If you love money, Even the root of hatred and murder...
So how do you know that the love of money is the number one prevention of ever learning the Fear of the LORD?
Because God said: Matthew 6:24 - No one can serve two masters, either you will hate one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other, you cannot serve God and Money.
Why did God say that? Why did God say you cannot love God AND money?
Because people were trying to do both. They were trying to be “Christians” but still love money. It was so common in those days, just like today, that God had to address it specifically. Not in a parable, but in direct specific terms. Either love GOD or love Money, but you can’t love both. You choose.
What is the Love of Money? To desire it. To want more. To consider it valuable, to want the influence, options, status, and pleasures that money brings. To measure your worth or success, or fun, or enjoyment by it; to admire others who have it, to desire their company, to subconsciously value or respect people according to their income, possessions, lifestyle, or net worth. To think less of those who don’t have it, or don’t have as much of it as you (subconsciously, of course).
When your primary goal in life, is to get more, or to enjoy more, or to achieve a certain level of income or savings. To save up for the future to make your life easier, or to take your ease, to store it away and feel more secure if you have it. Even to consider the objective of Godly stewardship... to accumulate more.
So how do people try to love God and also love money? #1 They consider money God’s Blessing. They think having money is God’s blessing on their life. They say things like: “There’s nothing wrong with having money, or “There’s nothing wrong with having a nice…" ( whatever they have or want), "God wants to bless us.”
#2 They think if God is pleased with them, God will bless them with money. And if they have money, God must be pleased with them, or blessing them.
#3 They think that as long as they are thankful to God, spending money & enjoying the pleasures of life is what God’s blessings are for.
To justify their desire of the "good things" of life, the "blessings of God"; the spending of money on food, clothes, cars, houses, vacations: They will quote several verses: Deuteronomy 8:18 - You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 - Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of his labor that he takes under the sun all the days of his life, which God gives him: for it is his portion. Every man also to whom God has given riches and wealth, and has given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.
This is true, it’s in the Bible, but the very next verse gives a warning that happens all the time!
Ecclesiastes 6:1-2 - There is another evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men: a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous evil.
Solomon is saying: A man dies, and leaves his wealth to another, or injustice comes and sweeps it away. Solomon explains further...
Ecclesiastes 6:7 - Everyone’s toil is for their mouth, yet their appetite is never satisfied. Ecclesiastes 6:9 - Better is the sight of the eyes, than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Another version says. It is better to be content with what you have, than for your heart always to crave more. This continual longing is futile – like chasing the wind.
But isn’t having money God blessing you? Doesn’t God bless those who please him? What’s wrong with enjoying money and being thankful for the good things and the good life God has given us?
Psalms 49:16-20 - Do not be overawed when people grow rich, when the splendor of their house increases; for they will take nothing with them when they die, their wealth will not follow them to the grave. Though while they live they count themselves blessed -- and people praise you when you prosper -- they will join those who have gone before them, who will never see the light of life. People that have wealth but lack understanding are like the beasts that perish.
Romans 14:17 - For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Loving GOD and Money was what people were trying to do; wanting to worship God, but also spend money on themselves “enjoying God’s blessing.”
Here is what God says:
James 4:3-4 - When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? Therefore anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
Look at that connection God just made. That’s quite a leap - from spending money - to being a friend of the world? God is saying right here, under no uncertain terms;
#1 Spending money on your own pleasures is choosing to be a friend of the world and makes you an enemy of God. (This is not the blessing of God, God calls you an adulterer)
#2 If you continually desire and spend money on your own pleasures –the things the world has to offer. These are wrong motives! (don’t call your desire for worldly things and pleasures – God’s blessing, God calls it “choosing to be a friend of the world – and therefore an enemy of God)
It gets worse! The very next verse then says:
James 4:5 - Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the Spirit who lives in us envies intensely? Another version says “yearns jealously.”
God actually said it. When we desire and set our heart to spend money on worldly pleasures, eating, drinking, clothes, jewelry, cars, houses, vacations (Not that one can never go to a restaurant, or on a vacation) but when our lifestyle is using money to spend on our own pleasures, “enjoying the life God has given us,” and calling it God’s blessing, the Holy Spirit inside of us gets jealous.
So what is choosing to be a friend of the world (and an enemy of God)?
God makes it clear - continually spending money on your own pleasures; the things the world offers. God condemned the rich fool for this. He had saved up enough to spend the rest of his years enjoying the good life. Could he have considered it God’s blessing, and his children been very appreciative of the lifestyle God gave them – absolutely! He wasn’t a heathen, he gained his money by hard work, the Bible never said he oppressed the poor to get his wealth: as an Israelite he was a tither – how else did his barns get full. Wasn’t that God’s blessing? But he was spending God’s blessing on himself – desiring the lifestyle of pleasure rather than a lifestyle of obedience. If God says spending money on your own pleasures - what the world has to offer, is friendship with the world, that is not what God has for you! That’s not God’s blessing in your life. Many wicked people are rich, doesn’t mean they are blessed. God has more for you than that!
Luke 12:20-21 - But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.
Instead God tells what those who have money should do:
I Timothy 6:17-18 - Command those who are rich in this present world, not to be proud and not to put their hope in their money, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Command them to do good, to be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.
This is the opposite of spending God’s money on their own pleasures... and calling it “God’s blessing.”
I Timothy 6:19 - In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
God's Word reveals that there are two kinds of life; and that the money-spending lifestyle, in the name of 'God’s Blessing,' is not truly life.. It’s fake. It’s deception. Our true life is not here… it is in the age to come. That’s why we should consider ourselves strangers on this earth. This is not our home! Our home is in heaven, we should not consume our money here, but use it to store up treasure there!
God also gives a strong warning:
If you believe that riches and living a "blessed life" is all that God wants for you, that is how the devil deceives you into the 'love of money.'
Matthew 13:22 - The seed falling among thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of riches choke out the word and it becomes unfruitful!
What is the deceitfulness of riches? It starts with the belief that God wants you to 'enjoy life' on this earth as long as you tithe and are thankful for his blessings. But this is a trap.
Your life becomes wrapped up with other people enjoying the same things – the pleasures of this life. These are typically not Godly people…
Godly people are not the ones always going out, to restaurants, and parties, and shopping or vacationing or spending God’s resources on the enjoyment of life for themselves.
Most Godly people are spending their time working, and serving God by serving others, they are seeking God on the use of His money; for their needs, for saving and giving to others, the poor, and to the cause of the gospel of Christ.
Their desire is not to enjoy a worldly lifestyle that they claim God has given them, but to direct his financial resources in the way God is leading them, to bless others, and to build the kingdom of God.
Those who are enjoying the things money can buy, focused on the pleasures the world has to offer are primarily worldly people!
If you join them in this, your friends will increase – because God says that wealth brings many friends. (Proverbs 19:4) The rich have many friends. But what kind of friends are they?
These kinds of friends are not often those who fear the LORD, they are those who pursue earthly pleasures. The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life are on that path. That’s why you run into them at all those places, or they want to come along with you, when you go there.
You will always find friends who want to enjoy money with you, either yours or theirs. (Your Dad’s or theirs). But these people do not have a heart to Fear the LORD.
This will trap you into a life of ineffectiveness for Christ. You will end up fruitless!
You look no different than the world. God says this is choosing to be a friend of the world, and this makes you an enemy of God. He gets jealous. You get caught up in that lifestyle, choked from the Word, and unfruitful. This is not the fear of the LORD, it will prevent you from ever learning it…
The love of money will prevent you from even wanting to learn the fear of the LORD
If you have money, and you are busy enjoying ‘God’s blessing.' Why do you even need the fear of the LORD? So you will be blessed? You think He has blessed you already. So you will lack nothing? You don’t lack anything right now.
And you have convinced yourself that enjoying the life God gave you by spending your money on your own enjoyment, as long as you consider it God’s blessing, and are thankful… that this is what God desires for his children. But it is not! This is the wrong motive! This is spending your resources in the wrong age. This age, rather than the age to come! This is what God says is choosing to be a friend of the world!
Revelation 3:16-17 - So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, "I am rich, I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing." But you do not realize that you are wretched, poor, blind, and naked.
If you love money, and desire riches, the comforts and finer things of this life, to enjoy the pleasures of this world – which many call the ‘blessing’ of God. You are in grave danger. You will wander from the faith and pierce yourself through with many sorrows. I Tim 6:9 - the root of all evil is in growing in you… the love of money.
God says that everyone who desires riches, the ability to enjoy the finer things in life. To live a life they consider blessed. Those things that cost money becoming their dreams and goals and their definition of blessing, enjoying life. They love money, they will fall. They will not go unpunished.
The love of money will also prevent you from leaving frienemies behind
If you are spending money on your pleasures, you would never do it, if you had not first convinced yourself that you were merely being thankful for the life God has blessed you with. But that is why God calls you a friend of the world and an enemy of God. Frien – emy. You are one!
And so are those you keep company with who do the same things. But now you cannot leave them behind, because all the places you go to enjoy life, those are the people that are there with you. You can’t recognize frienemies because they look like you - those who spend on their own pleasures. Because that is what you do, and you associate with those who do likewise... you cannot leave them behind. You are walking the same direction.
The devil is shrewd. He knows people won’t admit they are lovers of money… so he tricks them into thinking desiring money and getting it and having it and spending it - is God’s blessing and God's will for their life.
He knows that if he can get you to love money – you can never Learn the Fear of the LORD.
If he asks you “do you want to love money?” - you’ll say, “No!” So he convinces you it’s God’s blessing and His will that you spend it on yourself - enjoying life and the things money can buy while making friends with those who pursue the same things. He may even convince you that you are “reaching out to others.” As you join them in this lifestyle.
God warned that the devil will succeed in deceiving many with this deception…
2 Timothy 3:1-5 - But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, scoffers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self control, fierce, opposed to what is good, they will betray their friends, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure – rather than lovers of God. They will have an appearance of Godliness but denying the power thereof. Have nothing to do with such people.
God says clearly. Turn away from them. Notice it starts with lovers of themselves, lovers of money and lovers of pleasure. These people convince themselves that living a life of indulgence in the things money can buy – is God’s blessing. They appear Godly, (thanking God for his blessings certainly seems Godly) but they deny the power that could make them Godly.
They reach out to others, but not to turn them to Godliness or contentment, but rather to make memories with them enjoying the pleasures of this life. This is what God says is friendship with the world -that makes you an enemy of God.
God calls it adultery. Spending money on your own pleasures… where the word gets choked out, and the root is planted which produces all these other evils in your life. The love of money.
If you don’t agree that these passages are referring to this, that’s why it is called the deceitfulness of riches.
If it was obvious, people would repent and turn. But thankfulness and blessing and prosperity (even though it’s not true complete prosperity) sounds Godly enough that people are deceived by it. They really want to live the life the world has to offer, but also love God. They want to love God, and money. God says you cannot. You will love one, or the other.
What should you do instead? Flee. I Timothy 6:10-11 - For the love of money is the root of all evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
God says clearly the man or woman of God will flee from all this. Turn away! Run the other direction from anything that could deceive you into the love of money. Run from that lifestyle, and those who indulge in it. A few verses prior it says.
I Timothy 6:7-8 - For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. I Timothy 6:6 - But Godliness with contentment is great gain.
Rather than calling it God’s blessing and indulging ourselves in spending money, choosing to be a friend of the world – spending on our own pleasures… instead flee, run the other way. Don’t make it a practice of going out and spending money on your own pleasures.
Pursue. Instead go the opposite direction! Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Pursue the joy of obeying Christ, and helping others to leave the pleasures of the world behind, and pursue the presence of the LORD, and the service of the LORD with you!
You don’t need the finer things in life, or the ‘comforts of this life’ to be eternally significant and effective for Christ! In fact they will keep you from it.
What else does God say?
Hebrews 13:5 - Keep yourself free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
If you are spending money on your own pleasures, that is what a friend of the world is. If you are a friend of the world, you are an enemy of God.
The belief that God has blessed you to enjoy the lifestyle ‘he has given you’... Is what has deceived you into becoming a friend of the world, and an enemy of God.
He considers you an adulterer, an adultress. The Holy Spirit is jealous. If you are a friend of the world – it’s because you love money… and the things money can buy. If you love money you can never learn the Fear of the LORD –
Because the love of money doesn’t hate evil, it is the root of all evil. Your lifestyle will produce evil continually, you won’t even be able to discern it, or be able to turn from it - or turn away from those who practice it with you.
Only by Practicing Contentment can you keep yourself free from the love of money.
Thinking that God is blessing you with a pleasurable lifestyle – convinces you to enjoy spending money on yourself, pursuing the pleasures of the world. It is slavery! Bondage!
God says keep yourself free from the love of money – don’t call it God’s blessing; so you can indulge yourself. Flee from it.
This does not mean you can never spend money on food or clothing or even vacations; or be thankful for God providing for your needs in the natural world. But if those things are what your heart desires, and you are always thinking about the next place you are going to go, or the next thing you are going to buy… you do not desire the Fear of the LORD. You love money, not God.
God’s blessing is not what you spend on yourself, it’s what you give to others. And most of it is not even financial! You can give love, Godly counsel, truth, encouragement, exhortation, admonishment, help, prayer, faith, hope, friendship – that turns them from worldliness to Godliness. None of these are financial – but these are some of the true riches of life, and life eternal.
Flee, Pursue and Be Dear Friends - Our prayer for you is that you will - flee, pursue, and be.
#1 Flee the self-indulgent life. It is deception. Don't call it God's blessing - He calls it being a friend of the world and an enemy of God. God didn't give you increase - to increase your standard of living, but your standard of giving.
#2 Pursue righteousness - pursue full obedience to God, day by day, let him lead you - hold money loosely, don't love it, just obey with it. And take joy in obedience, not the pleasures that money can buy. Your life's impact will be significant!
#3 Be Content with what you have. Godliness with contentment is great gain. You'll leave with nothing, no cars, clothes or houses will go with you. The only fruit you will take with you was your obedience to Christ, and those you turned from self-indulgence, to obey with you!
See the Relationship Topic - You just might be...
Who are you walking with? Two are better than one...
A Daily Call will help you enormously if you are battling with this deception. It will set your course in an entirely new direction.
A PRISM Topic: is God’s Word on a single subject. A Relationship Topic is a perspective from God's Word on relationships. A PRISM Topic Packet is a grouping of PRISM or Relationship Topics of similar subjects... part of the M: Meditate on theWord of PRISM – (5 Things You Can Do Daily in God’s Word) to transform the way you think. Ask God what PRISM Topic or Relationship Topic He wants you to meditate on today.Take your PRISM Topic, Relationship Topic or Packet with you! Come back to them multiple times a day! “It is to be with him, and he is to meditate on it day and night, so that he may learn to fear the LORD…” - Deuteronomy 17:19